Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Review of "The Rider"

While shopping for audiobooks to enjoy while recently making a long drive to participate in a bowling tourney, I found this gem of a fictional bicycle race.  I didn't realize the story was 40 years old, but while listening it still seemed fresh.  Here is my review of "The Rider"

The Rider” by Tim Krabbe, narrated by Mark Meadows

Cycling, fiction, audiobook

Publish date:
June 12, 2003 (originally published 1978)

152 pages

3 ½ of 5 stars (good)


The best way to describe this fictional story of a cyclist is that it tells what can go on in a cyclist’s head while he is racing down the mountain, trying to break away from the pack, or working on being the best sprinter he can be. The author, Tim Krabbe, took up the sport at age 30 as an amateur, giving credibility to the context of the protagonist’s thoughts and actions as he attempts to win a grueling tour race.

The story takes place in 1977 as the rider is competing in a race in southern France.  Throughout the race, broken down into stretches of a few kilometers at a time, the reader will learn about the intricacies of cycling, the various stages of a race and the wandering of a cyclist’s mind as he describes everything from his past to women he meets along the course. That made the story a bit hard for me to follow until the next segment where he let the reader know how far along the course he had progressed.

While the story was enjoyable, the narration was even better as Mark Meadows read the translated text (the book was originally published in Dutch, Krabbe’s native language) in an easy to understand manner.  His voice came across as soothing during the down time and the competitive nature of the main character was also evident when he was sprinting to attempt to win a stage.

Overall, this is a book recommended for cyclists and hard-core fans as they will best understand the nuances of the sport.  It is still an enjoyable story for people who have an interest even if they don’t follow the sport closely. 

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